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Barn Owners-Manager: cost per horse per month

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  • Barn Owners-Manager: cost per horse per month

    Hi all,
    Researching for a business plan outline for starting a barn. I am looking to gather a rough estimate (I know it can vary per horse) as to what a barn owner can expect to pay per month. I am researching for the New England Area, specifically MA.
    1. About how much per horse- hay, shaving, grain.
    -Feel free to break it out for each
    -If you want to get really specific about how bags of grain, bags of shavings, bales of hay one average horse goes through 1week or month.
    2. About how much for other fees, things I might be forgetting!
    (Also know that there is rent/mortgage, and vet/shoeing bills)
    3. Anything else anyone wants to throw out there for me.

    the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique
  • Original Poster

    and Im thinking of gearing the plan more towards lesson horses, not performance/sport horses
    the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique


    • #3
      OK - I'll play: using a 20 horse average base line

      Hay 2/3 bale/day = 20/month $ 120
      Grain 3 bags/month $ 45
      Bedding (I use bulk sawdust) $ 60
      Electric-per horse $ 15
      Water - per horse $ 10
      Phone - per horse(they call out for
      pizza a lot!) $ 10
      Misc repairs(fencing,clips,etc) $ 25
      Insurance $ 40
      Labor (we do a lot ourselves) $ 50
      Tractor - gas, service (paid for) $ 5
      Major repairs(footing, new tractor) $ 10
      (mirrors)important to be prepared!
      Total $390
      Not including my labor, vet bills on school horses,
      tack and I'm sure other things. (Oh taxes is one!)


      • #4
        Originally posted by dotneko View Post
        OK - I'll play: using a 20 horse average base line

        Hay 2/3 bale/day = 20/month $ 120
        Grain 3 bags/month $ 45
        Bedding (I use bulk sawdust) $ 60
        Electric-per horse $ 15
        Water - per horse $ 10
        Phone - per horse(they call out for
        pizza a lot!) $ 10
        Misc repairs(fencing,clips,etc) $ 25
        Insurance $ 40
        Labor (we do a lot ourselves) $ 50
        Tractor - gas, service (paid for) $ 5
        Major repairs(footing, new tractor) $ 10
        (mirrors)important to be prepared!
        Total $390
        Not including my labor, vet bills on school horses,
        tack and I'm sure other things. (Oh taxes is one!)
        Pretty complete list, but add:

        Depreciation (barn, arena, etc.)
        Fence Maintenance
        Access Maintenance
        Parking Maintenance

        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


        • #5
          On the retail end, I pay my BO $450 per month. No wonder all you BOs are getting rich -- bunch of thieves! (LOL, I hope it is obvious I am J/K.)
          Yes, I know how to spell. I'm using freespeling!



          • #6
            The whole of Guilherme's list , plus 3 full time employees, and the house they live in, insurance, 2 trucks and 2 trailers, heat in the barn and indoor for a MN winter, and for me it's closer to $1000/ month.


            • #7
              Stalls--$3.50/day/horse/6 days week
              • Includes cleaning, bedding (bulk Sawdust) and manure disposal
              Grain--$2.15/horse/day (average)
              • inside square bales
              • outside round bales (when needed)
              Facility--(actually property)-3.61/day
              • this is variable depending on how many horses boarding at a given time, the fixed amount is $23,400/year)
              Maintenance & updates: .33/day
              Insurance (liability, CCC)-.56/day/hor



              I don't include much of my labor in this break down--the labor is the boy that works for me 3 partial days/week.

              For this the boarders get stalls cleaned 6 days/week, buckets dumped and cloroxed 3X/week. Basically free choice hay--excellent alfalfa/timothy in the stall and same hay but first cutting round baled outside when the grass goes off, turn out is 8-16 hours/day with shelters and autowaters (scrubbed weekly) in most fields.

              I have 4 arenas--2 indoors (60 x 150, 60 x 130) a 120 x 200' all weather outdoor and a 70 x 210 all weather dressage ring. I enough show jumps to make two courses, and cross country courses (including water, ditches and banks) from step overs to Training and prelim questions.

              The horses get checked regularly, including night check.

              I host clinics and shows as well as offer a lesson program. As you can see from the numbers the boarding isn't very lucrative so the income has to come from somewhere!


              • #8
                Hay-1 bale per horse per day_$210 per month (less in summer because of pasture)

                Grain-2 bags per horse per month-$30
                Farrier-$300 per month for one horse, $22.50 per month for the other (barefoot)

                Bedding-$5 per month as we leave the barn open as a run in shed

                Vet-averages $50 per month but can be thousands. We try to do as much as we can ourselves, but occasionally need a specialist or IV antibiotics. I would guess that you should budget $200 per month per horse to cover vaccines, worming, coggins, a few lameness visits, and a colic.

                Supplies-heated water bucket, Vetwrap, brushes, blankets, $50/month



                • Original Poster

                  these are fantastic answers, thank you for taking the time to reply!
                  the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique


                  • #10
                    I don't have time to break it down right now, but we are in a pricey area of Vermont, have 24 stalls and make all our own gorgeous hay. We pay full board on our own horses, and we LOSE money with board at $790/month.

                    Dot's numbers are way too low on shavings, employees and insurance. Of course, we have all legal employees, which I think is rare in this business.

                    Good luck!
                    \"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.\"--Pogo


                    • #11
                      Hey Mary -
                      My employees are legal, though we do most
                      of the work. That's about $700/week savings.
                      I use bulk sawdust - my stalls are overbedded. I
                      calculated the cost savings over bagged shavings
                      to be about double. It averages a double wheeled
                      wheelbarrow ful of sawdust every 2-3 days.
                      My insurance runs about $9000 a year - that's
                      CCC,WC,Gen liab, Comm Liab, Farm Pakage, and
                      Umbrellas through American Bankers. My auto is
                      through another company.
                      My taxes are close to $600/month so add $30/horse.


                      • #12
                        Dot, that's great you are able to do so much of the work yourselves, but it still "costs" and you should calculate it into your spreadsheet. What if you are hurt? Labor is a HUGE cost, with all the payroll taxes and Worker's Comp., that is our biggest expense.

                        We make all our own hay, and that is a savings, but also a lot of labor and machinery. However, we have really premium hay and feed about 1.5 bales PER DAY, PER HORSE in the winter. In the summer, we have all day grass pasture for all the horses, which requires a lot of maintenance. Plus the mowing and fence maintenance on our 110 acres, indoor and outdoor ring maintenance and jump construction and maintenance.

                        We also have no access to bulk sawdust. I pay between $3 and $3.50 per large bag of shavings and add about one bag a day. We spread our manure or trade it for gravel, which is great. Did you include manure removal in your spreadsheet?

                        I don't know how many people you are counting in "we do the work ourselves," but I'm impressed you can do all that without much hired help! Hope you stay healthy!
                        \"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.\"--Pogo


                        • #13
                          Side question Mary -

                          We have 50 lb bales - are you really feeding
                          75 lbs of hay per horse per day?? Holy cow!
                          Even my 18 handers would explode.

                          On of the major benefits of doing most of the
                          work is not paying the wc or taxes. We have
                          staff doing 25-30 hours per week. Husband and
                          I get 20 out and clean/bed stalls in 2 1/2 hours.
                          We get two days off. If the census goes up, we
                          will need help. Then you need to figure the
                          cost/benefit and how many more horses to pay the
                          extra help.

                          For reference, our board is $800/month. We have 56
                          acres. No hay fields, so added hay all the time.
                          Manure is spread or turned to make loam.


                          • #14
                            I'll play too.
                            My cost to keep each horse (8 total) is about 325 each per month. That includes my rent on the barn, power bill, well water, grain, hay, shavings, de wormer. I don't pay any maintinence costs on the facility since it is rented. I don't have any assets to depreciate in relation to the business. I don't have insurance since the property owner carries it. I know I should, but I don't. Owner also mows. I get my shavings really cheap from a family member who is a dairy farmer and gets them free. We also get hay really cheap (2-3 per bale) by family connections and growing our own and only paying for baling. I don't have to pay taxes except normal income taxes. Most ppls cost is a lot more, so I get why most people loose money boarding. I should also add I have no employees, I do everything myself, and my "pay" is whatever profit I make each month, and that usually stays in the bank more or less. So really, my 800-1000 per month profit comes out to like 6 bucks an hour or something for my labor. Good luck.



                            • #15
                              Jumpinbean, I am just over the MA border in southeast NH. The raw cost to feed a horse for me, at New England Rates is $155 a month.
                              That's 2qts of Trotter a day and about 6 flakes a day of tim/alf hay (65lb bales) and pelleted bedding is also included in that.

                              It doesnt include wormer ($10 or so per dose) or supplements (Cosequin/Vit E and Selenium/Probios, shoes, blah blah or insurance).

                              ETA: Farrier is $135 for 4 shoes (reset) every 6 weeks. Cosequin is $157 for 3 months. Probios $12 a month. Vit E is $24 for 2 months).


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by AKB View Post
                                Hay-1 bale per horse per day_$210 per month (less in summer because of pasture)
                                Really.........how big are your bales.........I have six horses all of which are chubby and I go through 3 bales a day.....average bale is about 50 lbs.



                                • #17
                                  I easily feed one bale a day (or more) per horse in the winter; my bales are 40-45 pounds and I have mostly easy keepers. Winters are FIERCE here and this is how I keep them warm.

                                  Conversely, in the summer I might feed a couple bales a WEEK to the whole herd, as there is plenty of grass.

                                  But my "predicted hay budget" is based on a bale/day/horse. I do usually wind up with some extra, and every 2nd or 3rd year I get to buy a little less as a result, or I can sell the surplus.
                                  Click here before you buy.


                                  • #18
                                    Our hay bales are also about 40-45 lbs. We have event and dressage horses who are all in work all winter. We feed very little grain--my 17.3 hand upper-level dressage horse gets less than 1 coffee can of grain per day. We really prefer to give the horses nearly free choice hay and not load them up with grain.

                                    We feed hay at least 5 times per day, usually 2-3 flakes at a time. Some of our horses are easier keeper than others, but they are all sport horses in work.
                                    \"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.\"--Pogo


                                    • #19
                                      I would not be focused just on the expenses. Look at the possible revenue streams and be conservative about it. It is very hard to make money on a boarding only operation.
                                      Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                                      • #20
                                        I board my horses, so I don't have anything to add.
                                        I'm just curious about the amount of hay you guys are feeding, other than Mary, who already explained. The horses at my barn are mostly trail horses, light work, tho they do get ridden all year long. They get about 3/4 of a scoop of 12% sweet feed and 2 flakes of timothy mix in the stall during the winter, plus free round bale orchard grass in the field, daily. In the summer the grain is anywhere from 1/2 to a handful depending on the horse, and one flake of orchard grass, free choice grass at turn out. The field boarders don't get feed during the summer, just grass. All the horses are chubs, and a few have to be monitored for weight during the summer, my air fern pony being one.
                                        Are your hay numbers without round bales? Or, like Mary, does the diet consist of very little grain?

                                        For the Op, I pay $175 field, and $275 full, she also has an apt and garages that she rents out. We don't have a great arena, just a small covered sand arena and a couple paddocks to ride in. The property is VERY lovingly maintained, she does all the work herself with occasional help from hubby. There are 14 horses inside, the manure is spread or allowed to compost, hay, feed and sawdust is bought in bulk from friends or small biz.

                                        Good Luck with your barn


                                        Oh, I'm in MD
                                        I reject your reality, and substitute my own- Adam Savage

                                        R.I.P Ron Smith, you'll be greatly missed